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Thread: Poetic Devices

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    seasonably mediocre Il Penseroso's Avatar
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    Poetic Devices

    Any recommendations for a poem that utilizes several poetic devices (such as alliteration, assonance, personification, metaphor/simile, irony, metonymy, hyperbole, etc.)? I've got to formulate a lesson plan of my choosing, and considering my time constraints I'll only be able to get through (haphazardly) one poem. I've been looking through some Shakespeare sonnets, and will probably pluck from his repertoire, but I'd appreciate some alternative suggestions. The lesson will be planned for sophomore English students, but that too is flexible.


    Thanks.
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

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    Accidental double post
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

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    seasonably mediocre Il Penseroso's Avatar
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    So I'm basically torn between these two(though I'm open for more suggestions). Both are by Shakespeare:

    CXVI

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle's compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


    CXXIII

    No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
    Thy pyramids built up with newer might
    To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
    They are but dressings of a former sight.
    Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
    What thou dost foist upon us that is old,
    And rather make them born to our desire
    Than think that we before have heard them told.
    Thy registers and thee I both defy,
    Not wondering at the present nor the past,
    For thy records and what we see doth lie,
    Made more or less by thy continual haste.
    This I do vow and this shall ever be;
    I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee.
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

  4. #4
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    Holy smokes O my you're not going into teaching are ya, IP?!?!!!
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  5. #5
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    I would definitely recommend that you include a hands-on part to your lesson. You mentioned pulling from his repertoire---I suggest demonstrating on shorter poems one or two devices.

    To grab their attention, I'd even consider bringing a portable CD player and have them "listen" to a master poet or two reading their own work, even a portion of a song for same end. If you need, I have the 3 CD set of Great Poet Recordings from Whitman to present and can send to you if you like.

    Keep it simple by using one overhead slide or handout as this will allow students to better compartmentalize each device as it applies to a particular poem as opposed to using one poem to point out the same, which can get messy. I realize you're going to be strapped for time, but be aware that students learn best when things are broken down.

    Carry on wayward son.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 02-05-2008 at 05:18 AM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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    seasonably mediocre Il Penseroso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    Holy smokes O my you're not going into teaching are ya, IP?!?!!!
    What the hell else would I do with an English degree?!

    you make it sound so evil, like I'll be the director of a concentration camp or something...


    Thanks though for the useful advice. I've actually had to scrap my idea, however, due to not having enough time and not wanting to half-*** the content. So I've decided to teach poetic ambiguity using Theodore Roethke's short poem "My Papa's Waltz" and make the presentation more free flowing. I'll keep your ideas in mind for a later date though. This is my first semester in the education program (I recently switched from straight English to get a teacher's cert.), so any advice/information you can give in the future will be much appreciated. This section of the site should prove useful for getting feedback on ideas and hearing more experienced opinions.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by Il Penseroso; 02-05-2008 at 05:50 PM.
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Penseroso View Post
    What the hell else would I do with an English degree?!
    Um...be a poet.

    Quote Originally Posted by il penseroso
    you make it sound so evil, like I'll be the director of a concentration camp or something...
    Think of me as a ghostly GI who returns to report to you what it's really like over there.

    Quote Originally Posted by quote
    This is my first semester in the education program (I recently switched from straight English to get a teacher's cert.),
    I have only one question, I'm curious. If you had to choose between learning the principles of teaching for the rest of your life or reading Shakespeare and the great books, which one would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by quote
    This section of the site should prove useful for getting feedback on ideas and hearing more experienced opinions.
    Yes, yes, of course, I am but one perspective a few doors down from it. As Whitman said, "Do not take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead; do not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me. You must look at all sides and filter them from yourself." Or something like that.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 02-06-2008 at 01:55 AM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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    Why don't you write a poem that interweaves these devices and present it in class? By doing so, you will be more confident with identifying these technics in the context of a poem, and will allow you to convey the functions of such technics with clarity to your students, since you did write the poem, therefore, you understand the reason behind why you employed each device as it relates to the topic of your poem. I think students will have a hard enough time trying to make sense of what Shakespeare wrote in his sonnets, which date back to the 17th and 16th century, in terms of what it would mean today. It's just the gap between how people spoke and wrote way back then is so different from how kids speak today. Then add on the fact that you want them to identify the functions of these devices in a Shakespeare poem and I think you have a recipe for a whole bunch of confused students. My advice would just be a "now" approach; take out the language barrier so that your students can concentrate on understanding these poetic devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    Um...be a poet.

    I have only one question, I'm curious. If you had to choose between learning the principles of teaching for the rest of your life or reading Shakespeare and the great books, which one would it be?
    I guess I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. I want to spend the rest of my life (or a large portion of it) teaching the principles of enjoying Shakespeare and the great books of the past and future, or on a most basic level teach students to critically evaluate symbolic messages. Teaching is an active way to deal concretely with texts, and I believe it will be more stimulating to me than spending day and night with pen, pad, and parchment trying to write the next great American poem. I need that concrete stimulus and sense of myself as having a productive interaction with my community.

    My ultimate goal would be to also influence students to look constructively toward the pleasures of writing as they gain experience with this activity. I remember from my experience going through many health problems and having writing for my high school newspaper to turn to in order to focus my attention to pull myself away from my fixated thinking, and gaining much needed confidence from this activity.


    That said, I have been going a bit into literature withdrawals having only education classes this semester. (hence the temporary absence from haiku and such)


    Perhaps I'll become the dry and withered POW huddling in fear, unnerved by the slightest poetic misprision and convulsing in sobs and startled Shakespeare exclamations, but perhaps then a bit of reclusive writing could do me good.
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

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    Quote Originally Posted by ktd222 View Post
    I think students will have a hard enough time trying to make sense of what Shakespeare wrote in his sonnets, which date back to the 17th and 16th century, in terms of what it would mean today. It's just the gap between how people spoke and wrote way back then is so different from how kids speak today. My advice would just be a "now" approach; take out the language barrier so that your students can concentrate on understanding these poetic devices.
    I think that constant lowering of expectations has a negative influence on student abilities to comprehend. Sure, the language is different, but it also gives the pieces historical context. They may not see that initially, for some it may not register at all, but I think it is part of teaching to push students to achieve through obstacles and at higher levels than they had previously expected.

    I also think Shakespeare, or other authors, could use the poetic devices to better effect than myself. I don't presume to be able to teach what Shakespeare intended in his use of poetic devices and such; I do hope to teach how they affect the reading process. I think my opinions as an author could interfere with this.





    Then again I have yet to gain field experience.
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Penseroso View Post
    I guess I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. I want to spend the rest of my life (or a large portion of it) teaching the principles of enjoying Shakespeare and the great books of the past and future, or on a most basic level teach students to critically evaluate symbolic messages.

    My ultimate goal would be to also influence students to look constructively toward the pleasures of writing as they gain experience with this activity.
    Ahh, yes. Well, the best of luck to you in your travels there.

    Meanwhile, I will offer libations to the cloud god as an offering to spark your writing mojo.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 02-07-2008 at 12:39 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    "Digging" by Seamus Heaney has alliteration,metaphor,similes, hyperbole,personification, lots of those lovely devices ( i have written many an essay using that poem with a nice bout of literary jargon vomit , many of Heaney's works provide great examples of devices- and they are brimming with direct links to a rich historical context of war and oppression).
    Good luck with the teaching IP, the world needs good English teachers. Don't let jon discourage ya, he is such a bully! (sorry jon )
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

  13. #13
    I recently did a power point lesson in one of my education classes on imagery, dependent authorship and plagiarism. I used Birches by Robert Frost as the example poem then just reworded the poem as an example of plagiarism. At the end I used a nature related poem I had previously written as an example of dependant authorship. I got the basic outline for the lesson off of the internet. The lesson plan suggested grade 10, but I put grade 8 on the form I turned in. This may not be helpful, but if you want to see it let me know. I made an A on the assignment.

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    Thanks guys. I decided to go with poetic ambiguity and the Roethke poem. It went fairly well. I could've provided more background on the poet himself (also probably the poem too), but I'm still working on my public speaking skills, so I often forget to say a lot of what I intended.

    I appreciate the suggestions mohubbard and drama. I'll keep 'em in mind.
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dramasnot6 View Post
    Good luck with the teaching IP, the world needs good English teachers. Don't let jon discourage ya, he is such a bully! (sorry jon )
    By some fortuitous circumstance I imagine IP and I will meet one day in a small hokey pokey town at a bar where men still wear stirrups and reach for rope out of their back pockets. I'll be passing through Montana in the middle of some road trip wearing my floppy hat and ripped jeans, seated comfortably at some smoky bar stirring my scotch and mingling with the local cattlemen, cowgirls Suzie and Erika hovering nearby. IP will come in after his long day at the Rural Rural High School #3 a hundred six miles down the road revealing deep dark creases under his eyes from all those late nights up doing lesson plans. He wipes the sweat from his brow, takes a deep breath, squares his shoulders best he could given the exhaustion factor, and says: "Jon-now-lookie-here, I shoulda taken your advice five years ago when you discouraged me from going into teaching, and rightly so, oh dag-doot-darnit!"
    Last edited by jon1jt; 02-09-2008 at 12:37 AM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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